READ: Judges 10-12, Psalm 76, John 8, Galatians 3
THE MISERY OF GOD
Just because God is eternal, it does not mean He is invulnerable. The fact that God is outside of time makes His misery all the more horrific. The agony of the cross (“the lamb slain from before the foundation of the world,” Rev. 13:8) was felt before the creation of the world and will be felt long after the re-Creation. An eternal God bears eternal wounds. The body of the resurrected Jesus yet bears His scars.
God is miserable when His people sin. It grieves the heart of God when His people follow false Gods. This misery is compassionate, for God knows that sin destroys us from the inside out. God knows that sin cannot make us happy or fulfilled. When God sees us choose what will destroy us, He suffers. Eli Gautreaux points out that “when a child is lost, it is the father who suffers.” Anyone who has lost a child in a mall or public place knows the agony of the Heavenly Father when His children wander away foolishly.
God is miserable when His people suffer. In Judges 10, God’s people repent of their sin and idolatry, put away their foreign gods, and serve the Lord. The Bible then says of the Lord: “And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel” (Judges 10:16). God enters the misery of His people. It is said that a parent is only as happy as their most unhappy child.” God the Father is not restricted to human emotions, but this paternal grief is sourced in Him! God is miserable when His children are miserable – such is the extent of His care. The devil would lie to us, tell us that God is distant and unconcerned. No! When we suffer God cries with us.
God is miserable when His people sacrifice to Him what He does not want. The shocking story of Jephthah’s daughter in Judges 11 is a prime example of humanity giving God what makes God miserable. Jephthah rashly declares that he will sacrifice the first thing that greets him out of his house if God grants victory in battle. Jephthah’s precious daughter comes rejoicing out of the house to embrace her father – and Jephthah ultimately sacrifices her “to God.” God did not want this sacrifice. It grieved Him. God is miserable when we sacrifice our families and children to Him in the name of ministry. Self flagellation, legalism, offerings, or sacrifices made from guilt – all make Jesus unhappy.
What makes Jesus (and the angels) supremely happy is when His people repent of sin and trust Him in suffering, and when we give Jesus what He wants (obedience, praise, and faith, to name a few). Let’s not contribute to the misery of God. Let’s rejoice His heart by giving Him what He wants.